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1 December 2015 Malacobdella arrokeana: Parasite or Commensal of the Giant Clam Panopea abbreviata?
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We examined trophic relationship between the nemertean Malacobdella arrokeana and its host, the edible geoduck Panopea abbreviata by studying the diets of both species by direct (stomach contents) and indirect methods (stable-isotope analysis of C and N). In addition to these methods, the feeding behavior of M. arrokeana within the host and the morphology of its feeding organs were examined. The feeding behavior of M. arrokeana did not exhibit parasitic characteristics, and the proboscis morphology indicates it is unable to injure host tissues. Analysis of stomach contents revealed a diet consisting mainly of microalgae and diatoms. Panopea abbreviata and M. arrokeana shared similar trophic levels, presenting no differences in the spread of the isotopic niches and high overlap (SEAB overlapped 63%). Consistent with this, our results showed no differences in δ15N or δ13C values between the two species. The combination of direct and indirect approaches revealed that M. arrokeana has a diet similar to that of its host, confirming a commensal relationship.

©2015 Zoological Society of Japan
José E. F. Alfaya, David E. Galván, Annie Machordom, Pablo E. Penchaszadeh, and Gregorio Bigatti "Malacobdella arrokeana: Parasite or Commensal of the Giant Clam Panopea abbreviata?," Zoological Science 32(6), 523-530, (1 December 2015).
Received: 18 August 2015; Accepted: 1 March 2015; Published: 1 December 2015

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